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I've got a question pertaining to tax deductibility of medical school application/interviewing costs, under Federal tax rules. While under most circumstances, these costs are NOT tax deductible, I am wondering if I can pull off claiming it as an educational business expense. I work full time in a research laboratory in a University Hospital, and thus I think that I can honestly claim that medical school will be an educational option that will directly improve my advancement opportunities within the same job area (i.e. a higher paying lab research position, which there are many of).

My direct application fees are running into a few thousand, and the associated travel costs for interviews will make the total reach several thousand dollars. Considering how little I am paid, I should be able to save a significant amount (~$1000?) if I can deduct these expenses.

I've had trouble finding a clear answer to this. There is little overlap between the CPA field and the MD research field, so no one can seem to integrate that "traditional" med school application costs are not deductible with the fact that it might also be a business education expense. I'm hoping FWF can shed some light on this, as I don't want to give a single penny to the IRS that I don't absolutely have to.

EDIT: Thoreau pretty much answered my question: "However, even if the education meets one or both of the above tests [improves or maintains my skills in my profession], it is not qualifying work-related education if it: (1) Is needed to meet the minimum educational requirements of your present trade or business, or (2) Is part of a program of study that will qualify you for a new trade or business." Thanks!

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If I recall correctly, unless the educational expenses are required for your job, you can't deduct them. Further, if they will qualify you for a "new profession" - e.g., to become a lawyer, or a doctor, then you can't deduct them.

I KNOW you can't deduct law school expenses as required business expenses (I got audited and had to pay up in the end). I suspect med school expenses are treated the same way.

You can deduct the costs of qualifying work-related education as a business expense even if the education could lead to a degree.

According to the IRS, to qualify the education must meet at least one of the following two tests: (1) The education is required by your employer or the law to keep your present salary, status, or job and the required education must serve a bona fide business purpose of your employer OR (2) The education maintains or improves skills needed in your present work.

However, even if the education meets one or both of the above tests, it is not qualifying work-related education if it: (1) Is needed to meet the minimum educational requirements of your present trade or business, or (2) Is part of a program of study that will qualify you for a new trade or business.

For more information, refer to Chapter 12 of Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

Certain expenses incurred while looking for a new job may be deductible. Examples of deductible expenses include resume preparation and travel expenses for job search and interviews. See IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, for more information

A mini AOR should make it into an easily monthly payment thing. Don't let money get in your ways of helping the old, the sick, and the needy. What you should worry the most is how to get in and can you finish the program.

Out of curiosity, I'm guessing that anyone applying to med school applies to several, to make sure one of them offers a place. How much do the med schools charge as an application fee? I can see this process running into lots of money.

Also, do foreign schools charge more, or less, than domestic ones?

Thanks, and GOOD LUCK on your medical school career and your life as a physician!

IrishTomBunny said: Out of curiosity, I'm guessing that anyone applying to med school applies to several, to make sure one of them offers a place. How much do the med schools charge as an application fee? I can see this process running into lots of money.

Also, do foreign schools charge more, or less, than domestic ones?

Thanks, and GOOD LUCK on your medical school career and your life as a physician!


Typically, one applies through AMCAS (American Medical College Application System) service for their primary application. This year the fee for applying to one school is $160, plus fees to have official transcripts sent, etc. Each additional school through AMCAS is an extra $30. However, just about every school has a secondary application, some of which are substantial with several major essay questions (eg Duke), and some are very simple and straightforward (Wash U makes you upload a picture and hit submit, pretty much).

Just about all secondaries have an additional fee, typically around $100 each. Apply to 10 schools (a conservative number even for an exceptional applicant), account for airfare and hotel costs for each place where you're lucky enough to get an interview (they all require an interview prior to making a decision), and it adds up quickly. Lower ranked schools tend to charge more for a secondary (presumably since less qualified students are more "desperate" to get an acceptance, making applying to safety schools, if there is such a thing in this field, even more expensive.

This is all very difficult to afford, especially for people in college or who have just graduated, not to mention the time it takes to write all those essays. I've heard too many horror stories from people who applied to fewer than 10 schools to save $ and didn't get in anywhere, and had to wait a year and start all over. I do have a mini App-O-Rama going on with some 0% balance transfer offers, but they won't even approach all of the costs.

It's not a fun feeling when you hit that "submit" button on a secondary, knowing that you just sent away more than you make in a day for a chance to attend a single school. Then do it 15-25 times.

Anyway, thank you for wishing me luck on my future career. It will be lots of hard work, but should be worth it.

SOB, make sure you register early because my closest test site was booked and MCAT website was busy/down forcing me to pay the $50 late fee b/c of a few minutes late.
This year MCAT examination is $210. If you are on federal assistance, you may qualify for $85.
For my case, it's $260. That is more than a whole year of oatmeals. Man, either I get a high score or I expect something in return consider I also have to drive 2 hours, a 4 hours trip, $300 total cost. Maybe a telephone number from the MCAT female rep? Lol.
But knowing you save a WHOLE YEAR if you do get in is priceless. Because next test is in December, and you have to wait for June to apply.
Man, so I have to worked on Friday then get off work and drive 2 hours trip to the testing center and spend 8 hours there. I may collapse in there.
After that I have to head home, and do my weekly volunteer work. It's only 3-4 hours, so what's the hey
So Friday morning, I work then get home then work till early Saturday morning then drive to the testing center and then spend 8 hours there, then head home and do 4 hours of volunteer work. Life is hard. Going to school is harder.



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